VENICE, FL (WWSB)- Saturday, the Battle of the Bridges Regatta took place for the first time at Venice's Intracoastal Waterway.
The event, hosted by the Sarasota Scullers, usually takes place between Casey Key and Siesta Key Bridge, but this year's new location caused some controversy.
Some people were upset about the event being hosted in the Intracoastal Waterway because the waterway and boat ramp were closed for part of the day. But others were happy about how the event brought people to Venice, especially after the red tide.
"It's inspiring," said Venice resident Julie Ross.
Fans watch on the sidelines as teams from all over compete in a head race.
"It's one race at a time, it's a much longer distance. These athletes are rowing over three miles on the course they row three miles down to row up and three miles on their way back," said parent volunteer Danielle Tanaka.
This year was the first time Venice was the host, which organizers say caused some push back.
"The concern with motor boaters was that they would have to not be on this water way for a couple hours this morning," Tanaka said.
The red tide also causing some issues for the event…
"We didn't have as many entries as we originally anticipated and so we want to work with the community, we're not trying to shut the waterway down for the whole day to ruin anyone's day. We want to put on a quality safe race. And when we saw that we could do that in a shorter time period, of course we condensed it."
But people like Julie Ross , who came out to watch with her husband and friends say they enjoy having the race in Venice.
"I think they should suck it up. It's for the good of the town this has been done in other places around the country and it's very beneficial to the town and the businesses in the town," said Ross.
Organizers hope this doesn't just help businesses now, but also for years to come.
"Let the rowing community see that Venice is a viable option for them when they come to the big races held at Nathan Benderson Park," Tanaka said.
People who came out to the event also told said they hope that this becomes an annual event here on the Intracoastal Waterway.
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